James Galanos, Silk Organza Beaded Evening Gown, Fall 1957


Evening gown. Silk organza with polychrome glass beads. Fall 1957.
Image Collection: Drexel Digital Museum. DDM_Galanos_James_06.
Object Collection: The James G. Galanos Archive at Drexel University
Gift of Mrs. John Thouron.

Tartan plaid was a signature textile pattern for Galanos as early as 1950 when he made the sketch on the right below for “Jimi Originals”, a company he started in 1950 with Mary Scourby (1). In 1957 designers such as Galanos were moving away from the voluminous skirts emphasizing a tiny waist of the “New Look” to a slender column with the focus on the bust, hips and waist. Cutting this gown as a bodice and skirt rather than a continuous column allows the weight of the beads of this organza gown to be somewhat supported. The polychromatic coloring of the beads creates a shimmering version of the green, red and black palette he used throughout his career as in the duchesse satin jacket from 1988 in the image second from the right, below.

1 – Kellen Design Archives. The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY. https://library.newschool.edu/archives/findingaids/KA0066.html